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Comets Team Up to Boost Women in Politics
April 5, 2018
Brooke López BS'17 (left) and graduate student Adrianna Maberry created the Lone Star Parity Project to spotlight women in Texas politics.
A new project by a UT Dallas student and a recent graduate is dedicated to helping more women get elected to public office in Texas.
The Lone Star Parity Project is a nonpartisan online publication that tells the stories of women involved in Texas politics.
Adrianna Maberry, a master’s student in geospatial information sciences in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, and Brooke López BS’17, who earned her degree in public affairs, created the site to inspire women candidates and provide tools and research to help them succeed.
“I thought I would start gathering these stories and sharing them with other women, not only to inspire them into running for office but to help them gain insight they wouldn’t have had previously,” said López, the project’s executive director.
They developed the outreach project after being selected as two of 30 students statewide to serve as Texas Civic Ambassadors. Offered through the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at UT Austin’s Moody College of Communication, the program supports student leaders who work to combat apathy and encourage young people to get involved in public life.
The site features interviews with candidates and others involved in politics. Maberry, López and other volunteers — including some fellow Texas Civic Ambassadors from different parts of the state — write the stories based on answers from a uniform questionnaire that also helps them collect research data.
“We believe that women bring the diversity of thought to public office,” said Maberry, who serves as research director and recently was selected for the Bill Archer Fellowship Program. “We hope to make a difference by providing [potential candidates] with good information.”
Dr. Marianne C. Stewart, professor of political science who teaches a Women and Politics course, said organizations that support women candidates play an important role in helping women decide whether to run for office.
"There's a lot of enthusiasm among women, particularly young women, for running for public elected office," Stewart said. "Whether that will convert to candidacy depends on the ability of initiatives like the Lone Star Parity Project to help women be skillful candidates."
López said she came up with the idea for the project based on her experience running for the Wylie City Council at age 18. When she entered the race, she said she realized how much she did not know, including the importance of canvassing door to door, seeking endorsements and finding a campaign finance manager.
Now, López works as a facilitator at IGNITE National, which teaches leadership skills and civic engagement to young women.
“We wanted to start gathering toolkits for women running for office because when I ran, I did not know a single thing about campaigning,” she said. “Since then, I’ve used my experience to help other young women who might be interested in serving in public office someday.”
Media Contact: Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].